Violenceagainst women remains an important social issue in all societiesaround the world. Millions of women are at risk of gender basedviolence, with women in the less developed and less civilizedsocieties being at a higher risk. The most important gender basedviolence against women is domestic violence, which is perpetrated byfamily members or intimate partners. Domestic violence has become animportant topic of study by sociologists in the modern society. Themain concern has been the factors that put some individuals at riskcompared to other. This research paper looks at the factors thatpredispose individuals to being victims or perpetrators of genderbased domestic violence. These factors include individual factors,relationship factors, and community and society factors.
Thehuman societies are characterized by violence against women. This ismainly because the human societies are dominated by the men whilewomen take subordinate roles. In some communities around the world,women battering, abuse, rape and female genital mutilation areacceptable actions against women. Therefore, violence against womenbecause of their gender is the fate of millions of women around theworld (Colombo,Cullen & Lisle, 2013). Although the level of gender basedviolence against women in the developed world is relatively low, itremains high in the less developed and less civilized societiesaround the world. Nonetheless, gender based violence in the modernsociety continues to attract attention from scholars, criminologistsand human rights activists. Gender based violence against women ismainly perpetuated within the family setting. There are also cases ofgender based violence at the society and national level. Domesticviolence against women is the most common form of gender basedviolence. It is perpetuate by the spouse or partner to the woman(Dutton, 2010). Gender based violence is a reality in the modernsociety irrespective of the social class or level of education. Thebig question is what are the risk factors in relation to genderbased violence against women? This paper looks at some of theindividual factors, relationship factors, community and societyfactors that can be attributed to domestic violence in the modernsociety.
Generally,all societies around the world are dominated by men. The biological,physical and emotional differences between men and women haveresulted into established roles of women and men in the society.From, a very young age, the society brings up a boy with specifiedmale roles in the society. This is one of the factors that havepropagated gender based and domestic violence in the society. In thestory“”True women and real men” the society has what it definesas a true woman and a real man. A real man is one who is able toperform particular roles according to the traditions of theparticular society. On the other hand, the true woman should behavelike a ‘women’, which is defined by the gender roles in thesociety. Due to the intensive campaign against gender based anddomestic violence, equality among men and women has been advocated.In some societies such as the United Kingdom, this has been achievedthrough discarding the idea of gender roles. On the other hand, theAmerican society has advocated for social changes that promoteequality between men and women while maintaining but maintaining thesocially defined gender roles. This is based on the understandingthat male and females may be equal but not alike. In the Americansociety, men and women have respective social duties. These enablewomen to keep in the male dominated although in “twodifferent pathways which are always different”. The Europeansociety is different since it assumes that women and men are equaland alike and therefore there are no defined social gender roles. Theposition of women in the social gives them political, economic andsocial advantage or disadvantage which is a major risk factor ingender based and domestic violence against women (Colombo,Cullen & Lisle, 2013).
Socialstudies in different societies have identified several factors thatpredispose both the victim and the perpetrator to gender based anddomestic violence. There are some individual factors that put someindividuals at a higher risk of being victims or perpetrators ofdomestic violence. Some of these personal or individual factorsinclude early or child marriage, level of education and socioeconomicstatus. Although domestic violence occurs across the social divide,individuals who are economically disadvantaged or have lowereducation are more likely to experience or perpetrate gender basedand domestic violence (Colombo,Cullen & Lisle, 2013). Individuals who have experienced domesticviolence at an early age or have been victims of gender basedviolence are more likely to perpetuate domestic violence. Somestudies have also suggested a strong relationship between domesticviolence and alcohol abuse in both the perpetrator and the victim.Individual attitude towards gender based violence is also a majorfactor where some people believe that it is acceptable. However,these attitudes are influence by society and community factors(Karen, 2012).
Majorityof domestic violence cases occurs due to issues with a relationshipbetween a man and a woman, husband and wife. Therefore, there arerelationship based factors that are associated with gender baseddomestic violence. For example, males with more than one partner aremore likely to engage in sexual violence with his partners. They aremore likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors which are likely toresult into confrontation with their partners. Continuousdisagreement and mistrust between a man and a woman in an intimaterelation is also a major cause of domestic violence. Thesedisagreements may result from a wide range of factors, which includeslack of marital satisfaction, poverty, disparity in education, peerpressure and influence from the society and other members of theimmediate society (Vezina & Hebert, 2007).
Thereis also society and community based factors that predisposeindividuals to perpetrating or being victims of domestic violence.The main community based factor that put individuals at risk is thelevel of tolerance to gender based violence in the community. Forexample, individuals lived, schooled or worked in a community withhigh tolerance to gender based violence are more likely to perpetuatedomestic violence (Martin, et al, 2013). On the other hand, moralpressure from the society can force individuals to abstain fromdomestic violence and opt for other morally acceptable methods ofsettling their differences. Although domestic violence is widespreadamong the rich, poor and marginalized communities have more cases ofdomestic violence. Poverty may not be the real cause of domesticviolence, but it is a marker for a number of other factors whichcontributes to marginalization and violence against women. Forexample, poverty may force women not to report cases of domesticviolence since she depends on her husband for livelihood. Some menview this as an authority to oppress and mistreat women. There aresocial and cultural norms that dictate gender roles (Shipway, 2004).In majority of societies around the world, these norms result intounequal distribution of power between a man and a woman in a family.This puts women as a social and economic disadvantage (FamilyViolence Prevention Fund, 2004). These social factors are the mostimportant risk factors in gender based and domestic violence.
Inconclusion, there are social, relationship and individual factorsthat are associated with domestic violence. The human society isdominated by men. Therefore, women continue to suffer from differentforms of gender based violence. Although there are several attemptsby different organizations to protect women from gender basedviolence, it remains prevalent in all societies.
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